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The Roots of Citizens’ Knowledge of State Politics
State Politics & Policy Quarterly (2013)
  • Jeffrey Lyons, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • William P. Jaeger, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Jennifer Wolak, University of Colorado at Boulder
Do citizens have the information they need to hold state politicians accountable? We consider what people know about state politics and whether knowledge of state government is rooted in the same factors that explain knowledge of national matters. We argue that while knowledge of national politics is rooted within individual dispositions like education and political interest, knowledge of state politics depends on the political climate of the state. When state political environments provide more information and greater incentives to become informed, people are more knowledgeable about state matters. Even if citizens are not always well versed in matters of state politics, they appear to monitor the business of the states. Citizens are most knowledgeable about state politics in the cases where information is arguably most important—when state governments are underperforming, when political competition is high, and when the political parties in the state are ideologically divided.
  • political knowledge,
  • state contexts,
  • government accountability
Publication Date
June, 2013
Citation Information
Jeffrey Lyons, William P. Jaeger and Jennifer Wolak. "The Roots of Citizens’ Knowledge of State Politics" State Politics & Policy Quarterly Vol. 13 Iss. 2 (2013)
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